Friday, December 5, 2008

I'm stunned!

Yesterday I recieved the most wonderful suprise in the mail! Some of you may remember a post a while back, titled the Be Creative Challenge. It was a challenge I had created on the Handmade magazine craft forum where each participant was sent a picture. And from that picture they had to be inspired to create something. I was randomally drawn a beautiful picture of a lovely old gate. I have so far started my creation and am working on it slowly. I shall be sure to post some photos soon.

But, back to my suprise! One of the ladies, Angie, totally shocked me by sending me her wonderful creation!! ME!!! I was and still am stunned! She decided to send it to me because of all the trouble I went to to put the challenge together. I tell you- I don't deserve this amazing and wonderful creation, but I feel so incredibly honoured and blessed to have recieved it!
Firstly, here is the picture that she recieved for the challenge. It's of a lovely verandah, with plants and trees, and flowers and chairs. Perfect to sit and stitch on for an afternoon, I reckon! Oh, and Angies colour that was also randomally chosen (but must be included somewhere in the creation,) was orange.
And this is Angie's amazing creation!
She started thinking about who lives at the house, and what they used the verandah for. So she created this lovely old lady, Flora McDougal, and a picture of the house, and even made a story to go along with it.
Flora McDougal's Verandah
Let me introduce you to Flora McDougal. She is an elderly Scottish lady who fled to Australia as a young girl after an unhappy love affair with Charlie McTavish, who was unfaithful to her with the floozy Magge McDonald.
Flora worked hard when she arrived, and finally got the job she wanted as a milliner in a fashion house. She was very good at her trade, and after a few years, had saved enough money to buy herself a lovely old house in a quaint country touwn. She used the cottage as a weekend getaway and always came home with her batteries recharged.
Flora finally retired and moved to her cottage permenantely. She remembered how much she enjoyed her weekend getaways and so decided to open her home as a B&B for other burnt out city slickers.
She now has many guests who come for the tranquil country setting. They all enjoy relaxing on herbeautiful verandah, where she serves them big Scottish breakfasts, and delicious Devonshire Teas. They also enjoy walking in the orange grove that the house is name after, and wandering in the pretty country gardens.
When Flora has no guests, she loves to sit in the comfy chairs on the verandah and think about her happy life, (She also thinks sometimes of Charlie McTavish and the floozy Maggie McDonald, and hopes things didn't go quite so well for them.)
Isn't that just wonderful? And even on the back of the the little house wallhanging, it has the following printed:
"Orange Grove Country Homestead Bed and Breakfast. Hot and hearty breakfasts, morning and afternoon teas (homemade scones, jam and cream a speciality.) Daily or weekly tariff. Your host, Flora McDougal."
I just absolutely adore Flora McDougal, and her lovely house and story. I feel ever so blessed to have recieved this wonderful creation. What an amazing imagination, and such great ceativity Angie has.
I just had to share! :)

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

I love Christmas!

Wow- only one month till Christmas! I love this time of year, especially the lead up to Christmas. Everyone (well, nearly everyone!) is in a happy mood, and we all are busy thinking of things to do and buy and see.
This year, my mum and I were determined to get in early for Christmas, instead of last years catastrophe of only putting the tree up 2 days before Christmas! So mum has already written and posted all her christmas cards this year, and we put the tree up yesterday. Our Christmas tree is a 'cheap and cheerful' one that was originally a fibre optic tree. However, we have since lost the transformer, so we can't make all the pretty lights work! So, this year we have decorated it with cheap baubles, and some lights.
To hide the hideous bronze coloured plastic base for the tree, I whipped this simple cover up yesterday, and in colours that match our blue and silver theme for the tree.

It is my mums 51st birthday tomorrow, and I have been thinking about what to make her for ages. I always make her a gift instead of buying one, as she absolutely adores all the things I create. She particularly likes dolls, so I just started fiddling around yesterday, and this is the little miss I came up with.

She is a cute little girl, and I can imagine her going to school or sunday school, and I just love her hair. I know mum will love her!

Some exciting news, is that I recently won a giveaway on Gail Pan's blog, and this is the pattern I won! (gail pan photo.) Isn't it so cute? It's called Santas Helpers, and I can't wait to make it! *adds the pattern to my ever growing list of things to make*

Well, till next time- happy stitching! Hope you are all well!

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

A bevy of baskets

I was going to attempt to do this enitre post using alot of 'b' words to coincide with my baskets, but I got stuck on the first sentence and gave up. Yes, I have alot of tenacity and will power, as you can see.

So I have been busy (ohhh...two "b" words in a row! How clever I am,) making some of these cute little fabric baskets from the Pink Penguin as Christmas presents. I plan to fill them with alot of baked goodies (shortbread, fudge, biscuts, etc,) and of course, some chocolate. Who could forget the chocolate?? They are a nice simple gift, but I think they will look great when they are all filled with the goodies.

Keeping with the "B" theme (or lack thereof...) I thought I would show you a photo of one of my Ribbon Browbands on a horse. Remember the browbands I posted about a few posts back? Well, the girl sent me a photo of the lovely apricot and brown one on her horse Vincent.

Finally, thanks to those who signed up for the "Pay it Forward," that was in my previous post! I am looking forward to making gifts for Princess Pudge, Farmyard Crafts, and Erika at My Strawberry Patch. I already have some ideas of what I am going to make! Can't wait to get started.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Pay it Forward

I love the concept of 'pay it forward.' To be able to spread a bit of love and cheer to someones life, who will in turn then spread that to another, and to another and another. Well, it just makes the world a happier and a nicer place to live.

So when I saw on The Royal Sisters blog that she was participating in the Pay it Forward project...I wanted in!!
So, how does this work? Well, for the first 3 people who will post a comment to this post, I will make you a lovely handmade gift each. But, you have to have a blog yourself, and be willing to pass the 'pay it forward' concept on. So you will then have to put it on your blog and make three gifts for other people. Let's spread some happiness and have some fun!
So the rules state that I have 365 days (ample time!) to make a gift in. I would prefer to send to somewhere in Australia (I am quite poor!) but, we shall see. :) And I promise to make a really nice and lovely handmade item...what it will be, no idea yet!
I can't wait to see what Michelle from The Royal Sisters is going to make me! She makes these gorgeous 'royal' dolls that are 'oh so cute.'

So, if you want to join in and have some fun, leave a comment! :D

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Firstly, thank you so much to all your lovely comments regarding my doll in the previous post! I'm still quite amazed that she came second! I think the bug has definately bitten now, especially after going to the Lilydale show today and seeing all the craft exhibits. Not that I have any idea on how to enter a show, but surely it can't be that hard, right??

Being the horsey girl that I am, I mainly sat and watched the horse events at the show today, and was able to watch a friend of mine come first in the Show Jumping. There were some lovely horses out and about today, and it was the perfect weather for a show. But of course, I forgot to bring a hat and sunscreen with me, didn't I? *runs to get the Aloe Vera cream*

Not much to write, but I was feeling in a creative and festive mood this morning, so I rumaged through all my scraps and made this wreath....
**Edited to add how I made the wreath for anyone interested. It's very simple. I just used some wire (that I found *cough* in my dads shed...don't tell him!) and made a small circle. Then I literally rumaged through al my scraps and tied them onto the frame. I tried to steer clear of bright colours and oranges, blacks etc...but I really like the colourful look of it. And then I simply tied some bells onto the ribbon, and voila! A very inexpensive, yet cute wreath for Christmas! :)

Friday, November 7, 2008

Some exciting news!

I'm so stunned!! The first post I ever made to my blog was about two dolls I had made for a doll swap on a craft forum. I kept one of the twin girls, and sent the other off. Well, the lady who received my doll liked to so much, that she entered her in the Dandenong Show on behalf of me.

And I just heard last night that my doll came second place!

I'm so stunned and amazed!! I have never won anything in my life, let alone entered one of my craft items in a show. But I think the bug has bitten now! *wonders what I could make and enter in another show*

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Ribbon Browbands

Oh my...what slackness of late! I do have some excuses though, but it still doesn't stop me from feeling guilty! Firstly, thanks for the comments about my cute rabbit, Jindi (and for all the past comments people have made to my blog...I really enjoy reading them!) He (the rabbit that is,) is such a character, and I have never met a rabbit with more spunk and personality than him.
Anyway, I have been flat out lately with two orders for ribbon browbands. For the non-horsey people who are reading this going, "Ribbon what-nows?" I'll explain! A ribbon browband is a fancy decorated band with rosettes on either end that attaches to a horses bridle and is mainly used for the show ring.
I've been making them for a number of years now, and so these are the latest two orders. The girl who ordered them owns some gorgeous horses, and will be using them for showing. I can't wait to see some photos of the browbands on the horses!
The first one is a purple and green browband, and the second is apricot and brown, using both satin and velvet ribbon in each browband.

I really enjoy making ribbon browbands, and I enjoy it even more when I see them finished and on the horse! :) So that has been my crafty endeavours of late, well, in between watching the Melbourne Cup Carnival of course!

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Just had to share!

I bought my pet rabbit, Jindi, a rabbit harness today!! And he loves it! I have just spent about 20 minutes following this little rabbit around everywhere. He is so bold and loves to explore, and he got so excited he lept in the air about half a metre!
Was just too cute not to share!

Saturday, October 25, 2008

'tis the season!

Whilst I sit here, I am congratulating myself on being super organised and efficient. Christmas is about 9 weeks away (crikey!) and I have just been making my christmas cards for the year. With the exception of about another 5 or so to make, they are all done! So here I have been sitting, making these simple little cards, and humming away to myself...."It's beginning to look alot like christmas...." la la laaa....

I find these cute little stockings and christmas tree embelishments at my local $2 shop the other week...aren't they just gorgeous! The minute I saw them I knew they would be perfect for some cards.

And I have decided on the presents I am making this year, and have bought all my supplies. Just need to find a quiet week to complete them!

I found this awesome and wonderful blog a few days ago, Crazy Mom Quilts, and I have officially decided..... I LOVE SIMPLE QUILTS!! Have a look at some of these delicious and delightful items she has made - aren't they just wonderful! Here are a few of my favourites, Raspberry Lemonade, Strawberry Trifle, Candy Corn and Pink. I love them! I really appreciate and enjoy the simplicity of them, the use of colours, and the overall effect, plus the wonderful quilting. I am very much by nature a simple sort of girl. I don't like alot of fuss and bother, and like to keep things plain and sweet. So these quilts are just such eye candy for me!! I have now felt inspired to make some simple quilts, and as soon as I jumped off the computer after looking at Amandas site, I went and raided my fabric stash. I made a 'strawberry trifle,' but in some of my favourite blue and apricot fabrics. An interesting colour combination I know- but it looks great! And it's nearly done too, so photos coming soon!

Monday, October 20, 2008

Piggy in the Middle

Nothing of great interest to report lately. I haven't been doing much sewing (have been in an awful rut this last week, and have dug myself into a hole. Am only just deciding that I might want to come out of that hole today...)

However I went to spotlight last week, and treated myself to some fabric. I swear I went to spotlight for something else entirely, and I ended up coming out with alot of other things.

But I couldn't resist this utterly cute piggy fabric. It was marked at $9 a metre, and when I got to the counter, it was down to $5 a metre. So that brightened my somewhat dim day and I ended up getting more of it than I intended. What to do with it? No idea. I think I'll just hold onto it for a little while till some inspiration bursts forth.

Whilst at the church ladies group this morning, I took along a little project to work on. Its an australian stitchery thing I have designed. It's a very simple, rustic sort of thing, with different aussie scenes, called Wombat Station. This is the first one, that is nearly finished.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Bags of Jelly!

My mum hasn't been well lately, so I made her this bag to cheer her up- and it worked. She loves it and can't wait to use it. The bag was a Jan Knight design from an old Handmade magazine. Was very simple to do, and I just love the fabrics. Mum loves blue, so she adores it.

Jelly Slice

100-150g Butter or Margarine
250g packet of plain biscuts (milk coffee/marie)
395g can of Sweetened condensed milk
A Packet of jelly
A sachet of gelatin
Lemon juice

Make the jelly as per usual according to the instructions on the box. However, use a little less water. Do not put it in the fridge, but leave it to sit on the benchtop.
Crush the biscuts in a blender (or a paper bag or two with a rolling pin will work if you don't have a blender!) Melt butter in microwave, and mix through the biscuts till mixture is firm and will hold together if pressed by the back of a spoon. I find it is always best to use too much butter than not enough. If you don't have enough butter you will end up with biscut floaties in your slice. Put biscut mixture into a slice container (roughly 22cmx33cm. Tupperware ones are great, but even a cooking tray will still work. ) And press down firmly. Set aside.
Pour the sweetened condensced milk and juice of a lemon into a bowl. Bowl water in a kettle and using 3/4 Cup of hot water, mix in the sachet of gelatin (roughly 2 rounded teaspoons.) Stir thoroughly, then add to the sweetened condescend milk. Beat for about 1-2 minutes, until the gelatin is mixed through. Pour this mixture onto the biscut base, and then put into the fridge. Leave it to set for about 30-60 minutes. Just keep checking back, and until the white mixture is not runny or wobbly, and is set and cold

Using the back of a spoon, and a ladel, gently scoop the jelly onto the white surface, letting it run over the back of the spoon. This way it will not wreck your top white layer, and you won't get floaty white bits in your jelly.
Put back in fridge and leave to set for a couple of hours, and then cut into squares using a sharp knife. And voila!
It's a very easy recipe, and one that is always a firm favourite with kids, and adults alike. My brother and younger cousin LOVE jelly slice, particularly green jelly slice. Have fun! :)

"God is our refuge and strength, an ever present help in trouble."

Psalm 46:1

Friday, October 10, 2008

The newest member of the family....


Yes, I'm aware how un-original the name is, but it suits him! :P I made darling little Bluey snail this morning (only took me about half an hour) after seeing this wonderful tutorial on Ric Rac.
Isn't he just so cute? I gave him to mum and she thinks he is wonderful! I shall now have to make him a friend, (perhaps a pink one, named Pinkie? Or maybe Barbie would be more appropriate....)

Go make yourself a cute snail! They are super easy, and I'm sure kids will love them!
I can even imagine making a caterpillar now.....

Oh, and you have no idea how excited I was to recieve this big box in the mail yesterday!! (well, after my two dogs nearly were successful in ripping it from my wonderful postie's hands!)

So, what's in it? I don't know. Well, I do know roughly what's in it, but not really. Am I making sense? Probably not. You see, I'm apart of a Christmas Advent swap on the Handmade craft forum. We have to collect 24 small goodies (could be bought or handmade....crafty or non crafty...) and then make a last handmade item. Then we wrap up each of the goodies individually and label them, 1...2...3...4...etc etc... Finally, put them all in a big box, and mail to your swap partner before December, so they can open each package one day at a time in the lead up to Christmas.

So, the lovely lady who was sending to me, Kerron, was quite amazing and super organised and already sent me my box of goodies! So I haven't looked inside (although the temptation is imense!!) and I have quickly whisked away into a cupboard so it is out of sight, out of mind....(except that I keep thinking about it and wondering what's inside!) I was going to give the box straight to my mum to mind, but I think she would somehow more eager than I was to open it up!! Which I don't know how that is possible!! Bring on December I say!!

Oh, and I had a request for the jelly slice recipe from Clair. So I will be making some today (hopefully...if I can get myself organised....I still haven't had a shower...been too busy making Bluey...)

Anyway, the sun is shining and all the animals are outside and basking in the sun. Have a lovely day everyone!

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Just some ramblings...

Is it a worry that I am starting another new project, when I have countless other projects on the go already? I told myself, "Sam, why don't you finish a project instead of starting another one..." But I just couldn't resist. I often need a break from my 'work in progress' projects otherwise I get a bit bored and frustrated with them. And then I make mistakes. So I need to let them sit for a bit so the creative juices can start flowing and my interest spark again. Well, at least this is what I tell myself.

Maybe I should actually go through all my collection and write a list of all the projects that are "in progress." I think I would be a bit mortified at how many there are. I know there are alot of them, but putting an exact number on scares me then. Makes me feel like I never accomplish anything but UFO's. No, I think I shall stay in my state of blissful unawarness and start some more projects. :)

And besides, I'm always making things for other people, so it's about time I make something for myself (I say that in the nicest possible way, without trying to sound selfish.) I just hope this new project doesn't end up in my UFO box, resigned to being an unfinished idea that makes me feel even more guilty.
And what is this new project? Well, I haven't been able to take any photos as yet, but I will soon. :)

I am actually feeling very 'reminiscent' (is that even a word?) lately. This time last year I was over in Indonesia doing missionary work for two months. We primarily went to Kalimantan (Borneo) and Papua (what used to be known as Irian Jaya.) We lived in some hostile places and very remote villages, but it was the best time of my life.

In most places we would bathe in the river, wash our clothes in the river, and even wash our dishes in the river. Yes, all in the same river. And goodness knows what people upstream were doing in that river... well, it was a lovely shade of brown.

It was my first time going overseas, and what a culture shock! The weather, the humidity, the food, the smell, the mess, etc....but I loved it, and I grew to love the Indonesian people- especially the kids! Such beautiful kids who were so happy, even in the face of extreme poverty and hopelessness. It really puts things into perspective and makes you realise how blessed we are to live in such a wonderful country. We often take things for granted, and it's not till you go to these remote places in Indonesia, or other countries, that you realise that fully.

Actually, this time last year, we went to a Leprosy hospital in Kalimantan. I have never seen anyone with leprosy and at first I was shocked. To see these beautiful people with such deformities in their hands and feet, most missing toes and fingers. One man didn't even have any hands or legs, but he still managed to crawl around. And we found out he was a brilliant chess player!

I met a beautiful young girl called Anna, who was 17. She adored me! She sat next to me the whole time and we played a game of chess, and tried to talk (Even with the language gap.) She was beautiful.
Even with all the harshness and tough times that we went through (lots of injuries and sickness, extreme third dregree sundburn, living conditions etc etc), I would go back and do it all again in an instant. I was able to do so many things I never thought possible, like hold a wild python snake, go swimming in rivers with crocidiles and water snakes, see a mans leg healed, ride in the back of dump trucks, go swimming at beautiful tropical beaches, plant cocoa plants in a field full of tarantula spiders, thrash grass in a field for rice to be planted, teach english to kids and play games with them, and make people happy just be our prescence. 'Twas awesome. :)

Monday, October 6, 2008

Bits and pieces

Well, I haven't been doing much sewing lately, apart from doing the quilting on my 'chook' quilt. I'm really enjoying the free motion quilting, and after a few hiccups with threads, and the tension on my machine, it's now coming together quite well. I'm still quite the novice at it, and there are a few mistakes, but other than that it is looking good.

Below is a picture of a beautiful crocheted blanket that my Aunty made for me just this last week. It's an early christmas present and I just love it. The colours are so pretty, and it's so heavy and warm, which will be ideal for our cold winters.

I'm apart of a Sampler block swap on the Handmade Craft forum, so here are the three blocks I have recieved so far, thanks to Trish, Elly and Sonia.

I feel like baking lately, but sadly our oven has died (and has been dead for about 6 months now. My dad is planning on fixing it, but just hasn't got around to it yet.) So, I have been unable to bake yummy cakes and biscuts (which is probably a good thing in hindsight...saves me from eating them.) I quite miss my baking actually. I find it amusing to think that this time last year I was making well over 6 cakes a week, every week, and other slices and biscuts.

But I'm hoping the oven will be fixed shortly so I can get around to Christmas baking. I'm planning on making some fabric baskets as gifts and filling them with baked goods, and other bits and pieces. If the oven isn't fixed by then I will have to branch out and think of other unbaked foodie items. I've already got a couple of fantastic recipes for truffles (I made them for my SIL's kitchen tea and they were all gone within minutes,) and fudge and white christmas.

I made my jelly slice last week (all gone already,) so I might do that again this week. It's such a quick and easy recipe and looks and tastes wonderful. Always recieves compliments. If anyone wants the recipe for it, just leave a comment. :)